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Last Minute Christmas Craft Ideas

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Time is running out to get your Christmas shopping done (including today, there are only THREE shopping days left!) so if you’ve been putting it off and feel like your creative juices aren’t flowing and need a couple ideas, I’ve got you covered.  Below are some easy to make gift ideas that should help keep you on the nice list.

Hot Cocoa Mix in a Mug

What you’ll need

  •  2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup powdered nondairy creamer
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

How to make it

  • Measure all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk them until they are evenly blended.
  • Store the mix in a tightly covered container at room temperature until you’re ready to package it. Makes about 4 cups of mix.

To package

  • Put some of the mix in a plastic baggie.  Put the baggie in a coffee mug.  Pour marshmallows in the mug to hold the baggie of hot chocolate into the mug.  Put ion a spoon and a candy cane or two and tie a bow around the mug.

 Cookie Cutter Candles

What you’ll need

  • Cookie cutters (choose shapes that can stand up)
  • Honeycomb wax sheets in various colors (available at craft stores- an 8- by 16-inch sheet will make 1 or 2 candles)
  • Wicks
  • Scissors

How to make it

  • For each candle, use a cookie cutter to make 10 identical shapes from the wax sheets. Divide the shapes into two stacks of 5.
  • Sandwich a wick between the two stacks, starting at the bottom and extending it beyond the top by at least an inch. Press the sheets together gently. If they don’t stick together, take the wax layers apart and use a hair dryer to gently warm each one before restacking them, adding the wick as instructed above.
  • Trim the wick to about a half-inch. Stand your candle up, shaping the base as needed to make it sit securely.

Handy Coasters

What you’ll need

  • Card stock
  • Pencil or chalk
  • 2 coordinating or contrasting cotton fabrics (washed, dried, and ironed)
  • 1 package double-sided stiff fusible interfacing (you can get this at the fabric store)
  • Iron

How to make it

  • Trace your child’s hand on a piece of card stock and cut it out to make a template. Use a pencil or chalk to trace the desired number of coasters on one of the fabrics. Trim the fabric into a rectangle that contains all of your tracings, then trim the second fabric and the interfacing to match its size.
  • Following the interfacing package’s instructions, fuse it between the two fabrics with an iron (an adult’s job). Cut along the traced lines with scissors.

Festive Fudge

What you’ll need

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/3 cup each red and green spice drops, halved (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Red and green decorative sugar
  • Red Twizzlers Pull-n-Peel cherry licorice

How to make it

  • Lightly coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray or oil. Line the pan with waxed paper, letting it hang several inches over opposite sides.  Tip: Lining the oiled pan with waxed paper makes for easy cleanup. Once the fudge is set, you can simply grasp the ends of the paper to transfer the fudge to a cutting board. Then can peel away the paper before cutting the fudge.
  • Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over low heat. Stir in the condensed milk and heat briefly. Add the chocolate morsels. Let the mixture stand over very low heat for several minutes, until the morsels are melted, stirring only 2 or 3 times.
  • Remove the fudge from the heat and add the walnuts and spice drops (if desired), vanilla extract, and salt. Stir briefly to blend. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan, then spread it evenly with a spoon, smoothing the top.
  • Cool the fudge on a wire rack for about 30 minutes, then transfer the pan to the refrigerator. Chill the fudge uncovered until it is firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.
  • When you’re ready to decorate the fudge, remove it from the pan and peel off the waxed paper. Cut the fudge into little squares (a couple of bites each). Cut a thin, flat channel across the bottom of each square — this will help hold the licorice ribbon in place later.
    Tip: To ensure that the squares lie flat once you tie on the candy ribbons, use a butter knife to carve a channel for the string licorice in the bottom of each.
  • Put enough colored sugar in a cereal bowl to cover the bottom. Press all sides of each fudge square into the sugar. Then cut a long piece of red string licorice and wrap it around the square. Tie the licorice ends in a simple bow on top. Transfer the mini gift boxes to a tin (or another container with a lid) and keep them chilled until serving or transporting. Makes about 2 dozen pieces.

Holiday Cookies in a Jar

What you’ll need

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chocolate-covered candy (such as holiday M&M’s or Hershey’s Holiday Candy Coated Bits)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup cocoa crisped-rice cereal (or regular flavor)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

How to make it

In a 1-quart widemouthed jar, add the ingredients in the order listed. Pack them down firmly after each addition (use the blunt end of a table knife or a wooden spoon to level and tamp down each layer). Screw on the cover (see Wrapping It Up for a note on securing a ribbon beneath the threads) and prepare a gift tag with the following instructions: “To make your holiday cookies, cream together 1/2 cup of butter or margarine, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 egg in a large bowl. Add the contents of the jar and stir until well blended. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 4 dozen.”

Wrapping it up

This gift, with its various layers of colorful ingredients, is most beautiful unwrapped. We fashioned the instructional tag from a folded rectangle of white card stock, decorated it with markers, and wrote the all-important baking directions on the inside. Punch a hole in the corner for a length of narrow ribbon, which can then be tied around the jar’s neck or secured beneath the threads of the lid.

iScarf

What you’ll need

  • Polar fleece
  • Embroidery needle
  • Embroidery floss
  • Pom-pom balls
  • Fabric glue

How to make it

  • Cut a piece of polar fleece into a long rectangle (ours is 7 inches by 38 inches).
  • For the pocket, cut a polar fleece rectangle that’s about an inch wider than your music player (our pocket is 3 3/4 by 4 1/2 inches).
  • Thread an embroidery needle with embroidery floss.
  • Use a running stitch to sew three sides of the rectangle to the scarf, as shown.
  • Attach pom-pom ball trim to the ends of the scarf with fabric glue.

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